Oh the horror

I finally got around to updating my NaNoWriMo2011 badge to show that I’m a winner instead of just a participant. You’d think I’d be eager to show it off.

NaNoWriMo gives new meaning to “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Than again, it’s more like one of those dreams that switches plotlines and settings without much explaination.

At the beginning of November, I was thinking I might get closer to horror in this story than I’ve ever written before. It probably had something to do with the mood I was in as I was beginning my story after midnight on halloween. Well, nothing in my story actually ended up getting anywhere near horror, unless you’re really really scared of platypuses trying to take over the world. (The characters in my story argue about whether the correct plural is platypuses or platypi. I was happy to discover afterwards on the wikipedia page for it, that there is no universally accepted correct plural, but it says that “platypi” is incorrect.) There was a little bit near the beginning of this year’s story which lead me to think it might go near horror/comedy, but it didn’t happen. At least the horror part didn’t. Whatever else I write always comes with some “/comedy” or at least bizarre silliness.

There’s a set of books on my list of books to read that is middle grade horror. Yes, horror stories written for 9-12 year olds. It’s The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney. From what it sounds like, this isn’t on the level of goosebumps either. I didn’t know there was a horror genre (beyond the level of goosebumps creepiness) for middle grade readers until I heard of these books. I want to read them, not because I want to write horror, but because I want to see how well he pulls it off. Also, because, if he pulls it off well, there will likely be aspects of that kind of thing which I would be interested in using even though I’ll probably never write horror.
Anticipating reading this, I’m expecting one of three things 1) It’s isn’t really scary, 2) I wouldn’t think it appropriate for its intended audience because of being too violent/gory/disturbing, or 3) He actually pulls it off well. I do think it’s possible to have a true horror story written for middle grade readers and be well done for its audience, and if that’s the case, it would probably be far better (at least in my mind) than most horror for adults. It wouldn’t be easy to write. That’s why I want to read it and possibly take influence if he does do it well.

Do you think it possible to have horror that’s appropriate for a middle grade audience?
I’d also be interested in hearing what anyone who has already read any of Delaney’s books thinks of them.

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About David A Justiss

a fantasy novelist.
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